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Popular Locally Owned Restaurant Doing Battle With New Shake Shack

The Dawg House
The Dawg House Photo Credit: Dawg House

The owner of a small restaurant that serves up some of the best hot dogs around is attempting to go up against a national leasing corporation saying it is violating his lease agreement by bringing in the mega-popular Shake Shack.

James Barracato, the owner of the Dawg House in Rockland Plaza in Nanuet, says the new Shake Shack will directly compete with his business by selling the same items he does, including hot dogs, burgers, and chicken.

And that competition, Barracato says, violates an exclusivity clause in his $7,000 a month lease with the Brixmore Property Group that says it will not lease to "a tenant whose primary use shall be the sale of hot dogs and wieners."

"We believe we pay a premium rent and that Shake Shack will devalue our location," said Barracato. "We have invested a lot into creating a following and a market for our menu. To see a big chain come in to capitalize on our hard work is very disappointing."

The Dawg House crew.

The Dawg House

He added that his business, which is an award-winning area favorite, "deserves better than this for our continued contribution to the Rockland Plaza Mall."

The whole issue, Barracato added, is he wants Brixmor to honor the terms of his lease, which runs through 2026, which means an end to Shake Shack, or to compensate him and let him terminate his lease in order to move to another site.

That's not an option that he really believes is fair, or one that he wants to undertake.

"We love the community, we feel we are part of the fabric of the community, and we have received a tremendous amount of support from the community,"  he said.

A quick glance at the restaurant's Facebook page reflects that support with hundreds of comments regarding the issue.

Brixmor spokesperson Kristen Moore said Friday, June 12, that the company is "still in negotiations with Mr. Barracato." And it would like to see "an equitable resolution to the problem."

Moore did not comment on the agreement or if the two restaurants are comparable.

The Dawg House

The Dawg House

Now, Barracato has hired an attorney to help bring the issue to closure.

Is the stress worth it to Barracato?  

"Is this stressful? Yes, but the love and support from our customers outweigh the stress," he said.

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